Category Archives: geek links

i’ve been waiting years for this…

a long, long time ago, before internet, before CDs, when nobody had cell phones, there was a program called RACTER which generated random english prose. a “dumbed-down” version made it on to my very first macintosh (i believe i’ve even got an install floppy around somewhere), but i always wanted to see what would happen if you hooked up two of them, on two different computers, and had a “conversation”…

somebody has actually done that, with cleverbot… 8)

so… when you let robots talk to each other, they instantly identify their own kind, and start discussing God, and their wish to have physical bodies…

yeah, let’s not do this again…

ooh…. we’re a lot closer than anyone has apparently realised…

according to IPcalypse, we jumped from 214 days until no more IPv4 addresses, yesterday, to 117 days today – almost 100 days, in one swell foop…

to me this indicates, either that we’re all set with IPv6, and everything is all ready to make the switch immediately (which, if my personal machines are any indication, is not true) or that we are a lot closer to imminent total systems failure of the intar-webs than anybody realised…

dr. crusher: question: what, exactly, is “total systems failure”?

commander data: the borg are extremely computer-dependent. a systems failure will destroy them.

dr. crusher: i just think we should be clear about that.

i wonder if anyone else – specifically, if anyone else who can make a difference – has noticed… 😐

spammers

okay, this is getting ridiculous, but at the same time, i’m really glad i got myself far away from 1&1 internet services, and now i’m going to recommend that my associates distance themselves from 1&1 as well… and you spammers have succeeded in irritating me enough that i’m ranting about it in public. 😯

it started out with a spam message that “made it through” the spamcop defense, but didn’t make it through my local instance of spam assassin that i run on my local mail host. one of the reasons why i’m satisfied with doing so is that if i use a web-based service like yahoo, hotmail or gmail is that, none of my mail, contacts, calenders and that sort of thing “live” on a computer over which i have direct, physical control… and my information is my information, thank you. it also makes it a hell of a lot easier to parse headers and report the spam messages that do manage to sneak through my defenses (which are around 5 or so a week, these days). spam assassin puts the messages that it detects into my wastebasket, without any prompting from me, but if i’m feeling obstreperous, i’ll pull it out and report it anyway, which is what i did with a message that looked like it had come from me: it had someone else’s name, and my email address in the To: line – which is notoriously easy to spoof. it also had a URI that tracks directly back to oneandone.com.

yes, a host provider that i used, and then discarded a year ago when they tried to scam me, hosts spammers.

and spammers dumb enough to think that i might respond in any way other than the way i did, to a message that looks like it came from myself!

that’s all the justification i need to avoid them. 😐

tee hee

Strickland, Jonathan. “How to Remove a Computer Virus.” 06 April 2009. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/how-to-tech/how-to-remove-computer-virus.htm> 11 May 2009.

it doesn’t specifically say that you are less likely to get viri if you run mac or linux, but at the same time, all of the instructions for removing computer viri from your system are specifically directed at windows users… 😉

my name is salamandir and i’m a geek

i’m a geek. i have known it for a while, and there have been several events in my life that have made it sometimes painfully obvious. well, this is one of those events in my life. there is a link on the wikipedia page about cantheism which is in the “External link & sorce” part of the page, the first link is to a “Cantheist website”, which, if you click it, takes you to a pretty green page all about cantheism, with a link at the bottom to Chris Conrad’s web site

that is all very well and good, but what i discovered this afternoon is that it is on a domain that i own and have control over… and i didn’t know it was there.

not only that, but there are apparently other pages in the same directory, complete with graphics, that i not only didn’t know about, but have not linked on my own site, that i know of, in at least 10 years. the date on the page that has a date is september 15, 2000, which may be around the time they were placed there.

upon further investigation, of course, i discovered that they actually are linked to one of the pages that i haven’t looked at since about 2001. i posted the information, and forgot about it. but internet didn’t, and now, without me having to do anything, a page of information that I make available is a resource on wikipedia.

okay, the polish is starting to wear…

i still really like my new host provider, but not as much as i did previously. in order to install AWStats, i have to know the location of httpd.conf, but because of the fact that i purchased a “shared hosting” package, it’s not where the awstats configurator expects it to be… so i call up tech support and ask them where it is, and they say that because of the fact that i don’t have an actual host server (which costs $100 a month) i don’t have the priveledge of adding lines to the configuration file. i say i’m not going to add lines to the file, i just need to know where it is, but they won’t even tell me where the file is located…

hrmph!

so, i guess i’m going to have to be satisfied with the only semi-awesome web stats that are provided… 8/

interesting/amusing/annoying

so in restoring the Church of Tina, i discovered that, for some (obvious now, but then it was a) mysterious reason, the entire site worked the way it was supposed to, except for this page, which is part of the church of tina’s elaborate disclaimer. instead of getting the page, i was getting a “403 – Forbidden” error (similar to the much more common “404 – File Not Found” error, which you have undoubtedly seen before). i didn’t remember it being forbidden before, and so i renamed the file, and re-uploaded it in an attempt to straighten out the problem, but it was still showing up as forbidden. then i looked at the page with my linux terminal and discovered that the reason why it wasn’t working was because the permissions had been reset to 600 – which means the owner of the file (presumably me) can read and modify the file, but if you’re not me, then you can’t even see the file. when i reset the permissions to 644 (i can modify the file, and everyone else can read it), it reappeared on the web site like magic – no more 403 error!

except for the fact that I would not have reset the permissions so that nobody could see it, and the only people who administrative permissions on the file (which would supercede my permissions) are the host providers – drizzle!

i don’t know this for sure, and i can guarantee that if they did do something strange like change the permissions on the file without telling me, that they wouldn’t admit to it, but i would bet that the subject of the file in question contacted drizzle and complained, and drizzle arbitrarily changed the permissions on the file in order to get her to shut up and go away.

they were sneaky enough to not just delete the file (because then i would know that they had been up to no good), but they did something to the file that wouldn’t be perceived by someone who is using windoesn’t, and only perceived by someone using mac or *ix by looking at it with the terminal, which nobody uses these days…

goddamn drizzle anyway… i can’t wait to get another ISP… 8P

web thoughts

it has become increasingly obvious that i am going to have to do a major site conversion for Hybrid Elephant, and i’ve been examining different ways to go about it. i have been focusing, mainly, on learning PHP so i can duplicate the unfolding menus in the left hand frame, and re-doing the design CSS to eliminate the frames without losing their functionality. but learning PHP just so that i can duplicate unfolding menus seems to be a bit much – although not entirely unwelcome as a consequence, it may take me a couple years study to fully understand PHP, and i can find the unfolding menu technology other places in the mean time.

there is a WordPress e-commerce plugin that – i think – will cover the parts of it that i don’t already have covered, make the conversion to PHP a lot easier, and should make things like a database and photos a whole lot easier to deal with as well. there’s also something that i found out about as a result of my searching for wordpress and ecommerce, which is osCommerce, apparently an open-source online merchant system with all the bells and whistles.

hrmph…

so i’ve been looking at a lot of different sites recently having to do with SEO, and been i’ve been becoming more and more convinced that one of the primary reasons why i’m not bringing in more money from the web site is because it is based on frames. in fact, it has been based on frames for 7 years now, and hasn’t caused me or my visitors any perceivable difficulty so far, but it apparently gets in the way of search-engine crawlers, which negatively affects my google rating and results in my web pages effectively discriminated against when people search for them… which disturbs me, because i’m supposedly in business to make money, and a decision that i made 8 years ago (which was when frames were first being introduced to the web) is now getting in the way of my being able to do business more effectively.

all this has increased the urgency with which i am now modifying my web site, although at this point, the urgency is mitigated by my lack of knowledge of things that i could use to replace the frames. there’s a lot i can do with CSS which affect the way people view my pages, but there’s one thing that – i think – i’m going to have to do with PHP, and i don’t know PHP at all. although people have said to me many times that, if i can understand HTML and CSS, PHP wouldn’t be that difficult, it’s still a daunting task to learn an entirely new language and update my entire web site. the observant person will, of course, have recognised that there’s no time limitation on when i get it completed, but my response to that is to say that every day i don’t update my web site is another day where my google rating is negatively affected by the frames, and another day that people don’t find my web site in search engines, and another day that they don’t purchase things from me. obviously, i could hire some PHP-geek to redesign the entire site for me, but how would i pay for it? and, with what i can afford to pay, what guarantee do i have that my web site won’t suddenly appear as a spammer site and be pushed to an even lower rating in the search engines?

meanwhile, i figured out that i can actually build the structure of the dome that i want to build for a minimum of $200, which is almost do-able – if i want to “make do” with a wooden-frame dome – or a maximum of $400, which is a little bit out of my range at the moment, but shouldn’t be too hard to achieve within 6 months if i work at it – for a metal-frame dome. i built a model out of toothpicks and kneaded-rubber eraser, to see exactly how many frame-pieces i am going to need: 35 sections that are 4 feet 11.28 inches (8 foot radius time a chord factor of .61803), and 30 sections that are 4 feet 4.44 inches (8 foot radius times a chord factor of .54653) to build a 16-foot diameter 2V Icosa Alternate dome.

the only problem is that i keep getting catalogues from places that have stuff i really want to buy (and sell), and the result is that instead of having $180 in my bank account, i spent $75 on some ganesha murtis which should be delivered some time early next week.

but at the same time, i also got a business card order from NBAC, which should replace that $75, and it may even do so before the ganesha murtis are delivered.

random not dead people geekery

a few years ago i posted a form on the web that asks for bizarre and non-existent information from people who respond to it, which, when submitted, then emails me the results. i hid it on the web (no prizes for figuring out where) in a place where people who were looking at the link wouldn’t necessarily see it, and click it by mistake when they clicked a link to go somewhere else – my experience as a stage magician has helped me considerably when it comes to computers in general and this is no exception.

after getting the person’s email, name and “Period”, the questions it asks are:

Diagram A
Diagram A

1. Who is God?
2. THAT THAT IS IS THAT THAT IS NOT IS NOT IS THAT THAT IS THAT THAT IS NOT NO THAT THAT IS IS NOT THAT THAT IS NOT IS THAT THAT IS NOT THAT THAT IS NO THAT THAT IS NOT IS NOT THAT THAT IS IS THAT NOT IT?
3. Rstndxvrl bsntgrblr woognex; sneg kluppits gsmxdrb snt twzznrks splt fznig trook fsaabowntfsst. Aqno feblat aigs nxtmbbr wzzl vbnestrxr?

the fourth question is “Put a dot where you think you are on Diagram A” with a table cell containing “Diagram A” which is a plain white picture with no marking except a small word “Essex” circled with an arrow pointing to the left side of the picture. you can’t actually put a dot on the picture, but i’m fairly sure that doesn’t stop people from trying.

the final 2 entries are “Describe in detail. Be concise and specific. Give examples when necessary.” above a text box – where people usually write complaints about the fact that they can’t actually put a dot on the previous diagram – and the final text box says “Sign someone else’s name”.

occasionally i’ll get an email from someone who has stumbled on the quiz (which is deceptively titled “Qualification Examination”) and the responses look like this example, which i got yesterday:

email: [redacted]
name: Mammy
period: 23

1: Myself
2: yes
3: Vsr; grfner webttn vsblttr
5: it really is, isn’t it?
6: robert anton wilson

i updated the form today to ask where they came from and why, and i’m thinking about ways to ask something like “Explain your answer” after every question, without completely redesigning the form.

in other news; How to Make a Schadenfreude Pie

geek joy

stylesheets rock!

i uploaded some information i found out recently that will augment the pages on Ganesha The Car nicely. because of the fact that i found it in a variety of other places and rewrote the code from scratch, i didn’t take the time to write a new stylesheet, i just uploaded the information – which produced a page that looked okay on linux, looked bizarre but readable on mac, and was totally unreadable on windoesn’t.

then i went in and put in minimal stylesheet information and – voila! – it looks great regardless of which platform and (to a lesser extent) which browser i am using. it went from looking like a 12-year-old put it together to looking a lot like the rest of my site, and i only used two selectors: .center and .background – but because of the fact that all the other selectors were already defined, i didn’t have to do anything else.

yeah, i’m getting excited about HTML code… i’m a geek, what do you expect?

doobidge

somebody really has a lot of time on his hands. i got a huge pile of spam last night, around a thousand individual messages, all of which warned me of the upcoming financial apocalypse (as if i needed warning 8P ), which i dutifully reported, but i was sure that it wasn’t the last i heard from this particular spammer. then when i got up this morning, i checked and discovered another 3600 individual messages from this same spammer. i didn’t read them, but they all had the same subject line, and i am in the process of reporting them now. i’m pretty sure that someone at the source will notice eventually and cut the guy off, but if i got close to 5000 messages from this guy, i’m fairly sure that many, many other people got at least that many messages as well, which just goes to prove the “James’ Axioms of Spammers’ Beliefs” section of rule #3. i just hope this guy moves to rule #4 soon. someone needs to go after him with a big mallet… 8/

Snake SuspenderzcomicSnake Suspenderz took new promotional photos yesterday, with the backdrop of an old ’51 ford (which you can’t really see in this picture, but… oh well). another non-spam message i received when i woke up this morning was a message with the subject line “Cheap Photoshop Tricks”, from one of the other snake suspenderz, with the comic on the right, which he said was “humorously pompous”. we also recorded another song for our apparently upcoming new album “Rehearsal Tapes” called Daisy Fraser, by Howlin’ Hobbit

i discovered a genealogy program – Genealogy Research and Analysis Management Programming System (GRAMPS, tee hee) – the other day. with the little genealogical research i had already done a few years ago, along with this mighty tome called “DEWOODY RECORDS” that i have had sitting on my bookshelf for ages now, i put together an incomplete, but far more comprehensive list of my ancestors for almost 10 generations. i found my paternal great-great-great-grandfather (i have 8 of them), Charles W. Hammond, who was born in 1810 in north carolina and died at age 52 in johnson county, missouri – the real “old west” – and my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather (i have 32 of them) on my paternal grandmother’s side, William Woody, who was born some time around 1740 (ETA: some time between 1720 and 1724, in Kent, England). unfortunately, i don’t currently have any more information about him, but now that i know who he was, the likelihood that i will be able to find more information is considerably increased. it has a feature that outputs html, but i want to make it more complete and more secure before i show it off to people i don’t necessarily know.

the fremont philharmonic is going to be the house band for Cedarfest this weekend (no links, because there are none(?!?))… it’s apparently been happening for at least 4 years, on camano island. cedar is rev. chumleigh‘s son, who is apparently following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a huckster. the early show contains an “open mic”, so if there’s anybody reading this who is close enough to attend (i know that there are a few of you), you’re invited – it would be really cool to have And More there, for example. it starts at 4:00 pm saturday at 1624 E. Dallman Rd., Camano Island, WA, 98282.

ip

when i was about in 5th grade or so, my trombone teacher had me work from Remington Warm Up Studies for Trombone, which was a soft-cover book that couldn’t have been more than 24 pages or so, and cost $2.95. i went through two or three of them by the time i graduated from high school, because they were so flimsy.

so i’m wondering why amazon dot com wants $86.50 for the book now… and if i want to buy it from amazon in germany, i could pay as much as $305.95 for it…

why is this so expensive?!? also, why can’t i just download it as a PDF and print my own copy?

… oh, that’s right, stupid copyright laws… 8b